Я бы не сказала, что она сложнее сама по себе – кому какая легче дается.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the construction/meaning of this phrase, or more specifically, "кому" and "какая".

=??? It's not that A per se is necessarily more difficult – it comes more naturally to some people, after all.

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    "whichever (какая) is easier to whomever (кому)" - this is not exactly English, but i hope comprehensible nonetheless, in unpacked version "one comes more naturally to some people, while another comes more naturally to other people" Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 20:33
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    it's possible to combine different relative pronouns in different cases, just random examples: (смотря) кому что (нравится); смотря кому куда (идти); смотря кто где сидит; (смотря) кто чем увлекается; смотря кому с кем работать, смотря что на чём жарить; etc. etc. Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 21:04
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    yes, or depending which is a translation of смотря implied here Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 21:11
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    Those two internal sentences are very loosely coupled. They convey a very generic idea with many ways you can complete them. It is not even a shortened form. Those are really just two related ideas spoken out. And if you would need to word them explicitly and entirely - you can choose any words that would suit you. For example: "Я бы не сказала, что она сложнее сама по себе – (тут вопрос (скорее (в том,))) кому какая легче дается". Or "всё дело в том, кому..." Or "смотреть надо, кому...". Or "зависит от того, кому...". Or ANY other variant.
    – Arioch
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 11:46
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    I wouldn't say it is complicated in itself[: it's rather about] 'which one is easier (to handle) for whom'. In Russian version the omitted part in square brackets is replaced with a dash, inviting to look at it differently (since the first part of the sentence uses negation).
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


We do not know what the topic (referred to by the pronoun "она" is. I am going to assume it is "работа", "work". If so, then the utterance:

Я бы не сказала, что она сложнее сама по себе – кому какая легче дается.


I would not say that it is intrinsically difficult. Different people find different kinds of work easier.

Here is a word-by-word breakdown:

кому--to whom, not in the sense to a specific person but in the sense "to one", "to each one"

какая--"what kind of", here serves as a sort of pronoun to refer to something of the feminine gender such as "работа". Here it means "a certain kind".

легче--more easily

дается--yields (in the sense "The door yielded easily to the pressure of his hand."), comes, gives, responds to effort

So the literal meaning is:

To each one there is a kind of X which comes more easily.

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